We tend to think about data centers as large open spaces with featureless racks. Many data centers use unique layouts and locations, breaking the mold.
These data centers are not a vanity project. They are creative solutions to some of technology’s challenges.
Businesses need data centers that are more resilient to natural disasters and physical attacks as a result of growing concerns about information security. Some data centers are now located in unusual places, making the most of the natural environment to increase their security.
The Green Mountain data center in Norway is located on an abandoned ammo store, embedded into the mountain’s rock. The CyberBunker in the Netherlands is located in an ex nuclear bunker. It offers customers the same security as its former owners, NATO.
Another reason to creatively use natural resources in data center construction is another. Green power and creative use of water and air can all help reduce energy consumption. The United States’ data centers used about 2% of its power in 2014. This makes them one of the largest drains on the grid. Data center developers are now working with nature to reduce this drain.
Cool water from nature can be used to replace air conditioning, for example. It can be transported by gravity rather than electric pumps. The water can be used to cool equipment, or in place of traditional air conditioning. Roubaix, France uses elements of these technologies.
Water can also be used as a source of power for data centers. This is the case with Yahoo’s Computing Coops New York. Nearby Niagara Falls generates the electricity that powers its servers.
Cloud&Heat in Germany uses heat generated by servers to warm air and water in nearby buildings. This technology gives us a glimpse at an innovative solution that uses the heat generated from a data center to save energy elsewhere.
The World’s Most Creative and Bizarre Data Centers
Data privacy is becoming more important. Data centers are being located in unusual locations to ensure that they are as secure, efficient, and effective. These are some of the most unusual data centers in the world:
The Former NATO Ammunition Storehouse
Green Mountain – DC1 – Stavanger – Norway
It covers 146,389 square foot (13,600m2) of space. This high-security data centre was built out of an old NATO ammunition storehouse.
OVH – Roubaix 4 – France
The building can house 35,000 servers. It provides up to 10 Gbps of bandwidth per server. Roubaix does not use traditional air conditioning.
Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo! has adopted the chicken coop style for cooling their data centers. Each building is 120 x 60 feet.
The wall is located outside the data center. It was built to welcome staff and visitors into the building.